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California has historically had a difficult relationship with wildfires. The majority of northern California is covered in dense forests, and, as such, fires are both a natural aspect of the forest life cycle while being a constant threat to humans who reside in the surrounding areas. In recent years, the state has seen a number of extreme fires, which have destroyed large swaths of residential areas. These events require frequent warnings and evacuations of residents. The emergency personnel managing these events require accurate and up-to-date contacts, locations, and emergency procedures on their smartphones.

Recently, Jonathon Narvey, sat down with the CTO and founder of Cira Apps, Vernon Weitzman, to discuss how the CiraSync contact and calendar sync solution, can help those effected by the fires.

So, first question Vernon—How are employers staying in touch with workers who are relocating because of the fires?

At a few of the larger companies we have worked with, there is often a manager of Employee Safety and Welfare. One manager had given me an idea of what their emergency drills look like.

The first rule of handling threats is to have a way to communicate with every employee. That means having a culture of gathering emergency contact information from every employee. Ideally, there would be an automated method to query and remind employees to periodically validate their In Case of Emergency (ICE) contact details.

What communication systems are being used to warn employees of dangers?

In an active or emerging threat scenario, almost all companies would be able to use email to communicate. With most organizations moving their email to Office 365 or other enterprise cloud email systems, this makes a pretty easy method to reach hundreds or thousands of people.

Many companies take this a step further with a mass notification system. This system is prepopulated with emergency contact details for all employees. With a phone call or a smartphone app, the mass notification system will start dialing every single employee. It might call their office line and use interactive voice response. If the phone is answered, it would query the employee and ask them to confirm if they are okay. If no answer, it might try their cell phone, or even their home number.

The safety team might get a real–time report of the employee responses and can focus on providing direct assistance where needed.

To a limited extent, applications like Slack can be used to post #announcements. This presupposes that everyone in the company is a Slack user and that they stay logged in and have the app installed on their smartphone.

How does HR plan for emergencies?

As an example, one of our customers pushes ICE information for 2,000 employees to the smartphone of every manager and the entire HR team.

Even if they are away from their desk, the managers can text or call employees or family members. Those who are remote and out in the field always have contacts are live and populated on their smartphones as a result of CiraSync.

That wraps it up, thank you Vernon for taking the time to speak with us. If you’d like to give CiraSync a trial in order to see how it can improve your businesses responsiveness, you can do so here.